March 11 2013 by Bryson Forbes
Sometimes referred to as the Echo Boomers, there is a group of travellers who are starting to really influence the travel and tourism industry. Millennials are a demographic cohort that follows Generation X and although many disagree about their exact age, in Canada the label is used for those born between 1983 and 1999.
From a travel perspective we are talking about those in their twenties and they have some very distinct characteristics:
- They have grown up with the Internet, cell phones, MP3 players and tablets. Most will have no idea if you ask them about Beta or VHS!
- They have entered the workforce or early in their career have experienced a recession. According to Statscan, the unemployment rate in Canada for those between 15-24 is the highest in years at almost 16%.
- They are closer to their parents than previous generations, higher prices for education & housing coupled with the relative wealth of their parents is keeping Millennials in their parents home longer
These are only a few of the factors that define this now influential group; after all there are a lot of them. The tourism industry has taken notice and we are starting to see a number of changes to the service structure to cater to Millennials. Here are some examples:
- Free Wi-Fi is an absolute must for this group. They are so connected that limited access or exorbitant fees are not an option.
- Peer reviews are a major resource that Millennials rely on to determine who gets their tourism dollars. Facebook, Trip Advisor are all very significant.
- Customer service is of paramount importance, it always has been, but now more than ever a bad or good experience is shard with thousands instantaneously
- Millennials are much more apt to walk to the hotel front desk to get an iPhone cord than an umbrella, so you better have both available
- Millennials like to travel light, innovations like laundry services or the ability to rent gym clothing are options that many will use
It really is fascinating to read and see the differences that unique generations have and the influence that they have with the services we come to expect. Have you notice any travel related changes that you know are to attract Millennials?